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Authorisation to Use, Handle or Store Prohibited and Restricted Carcinogens


The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth) (WHS Regulations) provides that a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must not use, handle or store, or direct or allow a worker at the workplace to use, handle or store a prohibited or restricted carcinogen unless Comcare has authorised that use, handling or storage.

The purpose of authorisations in work health and safety is to control work activities and the use of substances that are high risk. This risk-based information is then provided to Comcare so it can apply resources and target compliance and enforcement actions to areas of greatest risk to health and safety.

Application for an authority to use, handle or store prohibited and resticted carcinogens

The responsibility to apply for an authorisation remains with the PCBU at a workplace if a prohibited or restricted carcinogen is to be used, handled or stored.

When applying for an authorisation, Comcare may authorise a person to use, handle or store:

  • a prohibited carcinogen only if it will be used, handled or stored for genuine research or analysis (regulation 384(2))
  • a restricted carcinogen only if it will be used, handled or stored only for a use referred to in column 3 of Schedule 10, table 10.2, column 2 for the relevant item (regulation 384(3)).

A person who applies for an authorisation to use, handle or store a carcinogen must have the appropriate delegation for the responsible agency/organisation prior to submitting an application.

Statement of exposure

The person authorised to use, handle or store prohibited or restricted carcinogens must give to the worker, at the end of the worker’s employment by that person, a written statement of the following:

  • name of the prohibited or restricted carcinogen to which the workers may have been exposed during their engagement
  • the time the worker may have been exposed
  • how and where the worker may obtain records of the possible exposure
  • whether the worker should undertake regular health assessments, and the relevant tests to undertake.

Duration of an authorisation

An authorisation is valid for an unrestricted duration, unless the authorisation is cancelled by Comcare. A decision to cancel an authorisation to use, handle or store a prohibited or restricted carcinogen is a reviewable decision.

Amendments to an application

Any changes made to the information provided in an application form must be advised to Comcare in writing. This information should be provided to Comcare prior to the change or as soon as reasonably practicable after becoming aware of the change.

Guidance material

Further information regarding obtaining an authorisation for carcinogens can be found in the ‘Guide on authorisations to use, handle or store carcinogens’. It is advised that PCBUs review this document prior to submitting an application form to Comcare.

Application form

PCBUs seeking to obtain an authorisation must complete Comcare’s ‘Application for authorisation to use, handle or store prohibited and restricted carcinogens’ form. The approved form sets out the information Comcare requires from PCBUs and has been designed to assist PCBUs in meeting their reporting obligations. Application forms are valid for one carcinogen only. PCBUs wishing to obtain authority for more than one carcinogen at a workplace will be required to complete an additional application form per carcinogen.

Fax: 1300 196 971
Post: Authorisations Officer, Authorisation and Audit
GPO Box 9905
Canberra ACT 2601

More information

Page last updated: 18 Sep 2018